Nice Work If You Can Get It

  • Number of parts: 4
  • Difficulty: Challenging
A sweet, romantic song, arranged with fiendish, very close harmonies.


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This song has a melody and 3 harmonies which contrast with the melody. The harmonies have the same rhythm as each other (most of the time) and they follow similar melodic patterns. However, don’t be fooled into thinking this is therefore a simple arrangement! The harmony parts often move in the smallest steps (which can be harder than it sounds!) and there are quite a lot of clashes between the harmonies as they’re moving… then there are more clashes when you add in the melody. All this means that it can take a while before singers get used to what sound they’re aiming for, and then longer, with lots of practice, to get the tuning spot on to achieve that sound, so I have categorised this arrangement as: Challenging.

Nice Work was written for the musical: A Damsel in Distress. Fred Astaire sang it (with backing vocals from The Stafford Sisters) and then he performed a tap dance where he was surrounded (and confined) by a set of drums, which he proceeded to play… with sticks and with his feet! I love Fred Astaire’s ability to make something very difficult look so easy and relaxed… and that’s the challenge of this arrangement. The group I sing with: The Lovenotes, took a good couple of years, and a couple of changes in who sang which voice part, before we finally settled into the song… fortunately we loved the whole process – I hope you do too, or that you manage to get to grips with it much quicker than we did! As the song says: “you can get it if you try”!